Highly recommended, even for those who have already read the excerpts in the New Yorker. Fey is one of the funniest people...

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BOSSYPANTS

One of the world’s cleverest comedy writers debuts with a frequently hilarious memoir.

Perhaps best known to mass audiences for her writing and performances on Saturday Night Live, Fey’s most inventive work is likely her writing for the critically acclaimed TV show 30 Rock, in which she stars alongside Alec Baldwin and fellow SNL alum Tracy Morgan. In typical self-deprecating style, the author traces her awkward childhood and adolescence, rise within the improv ranks of Second City and career on the sets of SNL and 30 Rock. The chapter titles—e.g., “The Windy City, Full of Meat,” “Peeing in Jars with Boys” and “There’s a Drunk Midget in My House”—provide hints at the author’s tone, but Fey is such a fluid writer, with her impeccable sense of comic timing extending to the printed page, that near-constant jokes and frequent sidebars won’t keep readers from breezing through the book with little trouble, laughing most of the way. Though she rarely breaks the onslaught of jokes (most at her own expense), she does offer an insightful section on the exhaustively analyzed concept of the “working mom,” which she finds tedious. (Even here, the author finds plenty of room for humor—not wanting to admit she uses a nanny, Fey writes, “I will henceforth refer to our nanny as our Coordinator of Toddlery.”) Fey may not sling a lot of dirt about her many famous co-stars in Second City, SNL and 30 Rock, but her thoughts on her geeky adolescence, the joys of motherhood and her rise to TV stardom are spot-on and nearly always elicit a hearty laugh. Even the jacket copy is amusing: “Once in a generation a woman comes along who changes everything. Tina Fey is not that woman, but she met that woman once and acted weird around her.”

Highly recommended, even for those who have already read the excerpts in the New Yorker. Fey is one of the funniest people working today.

Pub Date: April 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-316-05686-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Reagan Arthur/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2011

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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